Teen Wanted for Murdering Vet Kills Himself Outside Sheriff's Office
A teenage boy wanted for murdering his estranged girlfriend’s lover confessed to the crime and then fatally shot himself outside a Texas sheriff’s office, where his mother had brought him to surrender, police said.
The 17-year-old suspect, who has not yet been identified, shot and killed 25-year-old Army veteran James Ayala in the head in front of his estranged girlfriend in Katy just after midnight Sunday, officials said.
Police said the suspect and the victim were involved with the same woman, who called her the teen that night to say she was now with Ayala, according to KHOU.
“He was like, ‘What are ya’ll doing?’ and he said, ‘I’m cheating on you right now,’ He got so mad so he kept yelling. He told her and her boyfriend to come meet us, to talk,” Darian Mitchell, a friend of the suspect, told the news station.
Ayala and the woman met the suspect on the 2900 block of Katy Briar Lane, where the teen shot the young vet, authorities said.
After the suspect’s mother found out what happened, she drove him to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to turn himself in about 5 a.m., Sgt. Cedrick Collier told reporters.
A sergeant leaving the station saw the pair in a car parked in the lot and asked if they needed assistance, and his mother told the deputy about the murder.
When he asked the 17 year old if what his mother said was true, “He said yes, placed a gun to his head and shot one time,” Collier said.
He was brought to a local hospital but could not be saved.
The teen’s mother was speaking with investigators after the suicide.
“She’s obviously distraught because she just witnessed her son commit suicide,” Collier said.
It was not immediately clear if initial reports of a second man was involved in Ayala’s murder were true.
Police said that the deputy had drawn his gun, but did not fire his weapon.
Officials could not confirm if the gun used near the sheriff’s office was the same weapon used to kill Ayala, a father of five who was described on social media by mourning friends as a “great soldier, friend, father and man.”
“It was an honor to have served with such a stellar soldier and a wonderful guy,” one person wrote on Facebook.
Another posted: “Great time serving with you brother. You will be missed greatly. Rest easy my brother. Watch over us. I am praying for your family.”